Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rail Freight Corridor Proposal - Have your say

On Monday 23 April, Transport for NSW has conducted a community information session at the Cheltenham Recreation Club on the proposed Northern Sydney Freight Corridor – Epping to Thornleigh Third Track. This proposes a third rail track on the western side of the existing rail tracks between Epping and Thornleigh which will have serious impacts on the communities of Beecroft and Cheltenham as well as all communities along the proposed corridor from North Strathfield to Gosford. It is a short term measure, not a long term solution.
You are encouraged to give feedback, suggestions and comments for consideration in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by Friday 4 May. The EIS will be published later in the year and formal submissions will be required at that time as well.
You may make your comments known before Friday 4 May by email to projects@transport.nsw.gov.au or downloading a feedback form from www.transport.nsw.gov.au or phoning Transport for NSW on 1800 684 490. Copy your feedback to Greg Smith epping@parliament.nsw and Philip Ruddock www.ruddockmp.com.au
We will be affected in the following ways. You may use these points to prepare your objections.
Noise and Pollution. Freight train movements will increase from 29 to 44 per day. Noise levels from freight trains are already unacceptable and will be more prevalent. It will be impossible to insulate against such noise and noise barriers in this terrain would be ineffective and attract graffiti. Our community will suffer:
• More frequent noise from old poorly maintained diesel locomotives
• More frequent flange squeal from freight trains on tight curves
• Resulting sleep deprivation, stress and adverse health consequences
• Pollution from emissions and brake dust.
The Rail Alignment. The steep curve between Beecroft and Pennant Hills, known as the Beecroft Bank, is not suitable for the long freight wagons. The proposed track cannot address the noise problems and flange squeal associated with this. The possibility of derailment is a safety issue. Diesel locomotives are energy consuming and inefficient especially on this old 19th Century track alignment. There will be considerable disruption with retrofitting a new line into the existing heavily used rail corridor.
Cheltenham Station. The placement of the third line on the western side of the platform will require a free standing overhead bridge with lifts to the platforms. This is unacceptable because of:
• The visual impact of the proposed overhead bridge with lifts to the platforms.
• The need for stairs and or ramps in case of lift breakdown and to meet statutory disability requirements
• the lengthening of the car park on the western side to Lyne Road goes through an area subject to flooding.
Beecroft Station. There is no plan to upgrade Beecroft Station. Beecroft will be impacted by:
• The loss of trees of high heritage value, Blue Gum High Forest and wild life corridors which will impact on the last remaining Gang Gang Cockatoo population in Sydney.
• The loss of community facilities including the children’s playground, scout hall and parkland.
The Western Option is the only solution. A combined road/rail link between the M7 in Western Sydney and the F3 north of the Hawkesbury River is needed.
• It is a more direct route from sea ports to western Sydney and further north
• It can be engineered with less steep grades and fewer curves which will reduce energy use and carbon output and improve economic efficiency.
• It interfaces more directly with road freight network
• It gets road and rail freight out of residential areas and will reduce road freight on Pennant Hills Road
• It provides another bridge over the Hawkesbury River for rail and road which is needed for national security and in case of bushfires, accidents and other emergencies.
PLEASE ACT NOW. Thank you, Carolyn Watt on behalf of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust rail@2119.org.au

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